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2013 town budget unveiled

(5/7) The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners received the draft 2013 budget at their May 7 meeting, and will be composing a list of questions regarding the submission to be addressed by town staff.

Mayor Donald N. Briggs presented the proposed $1,714,491 2013 budget to the board of commissioners, stating that the proposal represents “a 10.8 percent increase over the 2012 revised budget,” which was approved by the board in the amount of $1,547,022 going into last year.

Briggs said the increase was “primarily attributed to the decision to annually transfer funds to the capital improvement fund for paving and equipment,” and represents “the first year the town has provided funds for long-term replacement cost,” instead of replacing equipment and making repairs on a “stop-gap” basis.

The proposed budget also includes a cost of living adjustment of two percent for town staff. During the approval process for last year’s budget, Commissioner Tim O'Donnell had expressed reluctance to include a COLA for the employees, but in the end, did vote for it along with the rest of the board members.

“Sometimes, as subliminal as it may appear,” the mayor stated, “it is necessary that this budget reflect the commitment of the town government to provide a promise of community…One where individuals, families and businesses can predictably grow and prosper even in these recessionary times.”

The board took no formal action at the meeting on the budget proposal, which would be faced with approval in June.

If the budget is approved as is, Emmitsburg residents will likely see a tax rate of 0.4265 cents per $100 of assessed real estate value, an increase in the current rate of 0.36 cents per $100 worth of real estate.

However, most residents will actually pay about the same amount of money in property taxes as they paid previously because the value of most properties fell with the recent reassessment.

The board initially asked town staff to produce a budget based on the current tax rate of 0.36 cents, but at a subsequent meeting reversed that request, deciding to go initially with a budget based on 0.4265 cents.

Board President Christopher V. Staiger suggested at the May 4 meeting that the 0.4265 cents rate is still not written in stone, and could be somewhat reduced if budget cuts were implemented as the review progresses towards final adoption.

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